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Gardening superstar from Suffolk returns to former college to inspire current students

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A superstar from the world of horticulture came back to the college where he used to study to help inspire current students.

Michael Perry – or Mr Plant Geek as he is known on social media platforms – returned to Suffolk New College’s Rural campus this week.

Michael Chats To Current Students

Mr Perry (originally from Ipswich) studied at the college between 1996 and 1998 on a national diploma in horticulture.

During his visit, he chatted to learners on the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) level two programme, reflecting on his career to date.

Mr Perry went on to explain how post Suffolk Rural, he worked for Thompson & Morgan for 18 years and has subsequently become a freelance media expert in his field, appearing on the likes of This Morning, Steph’s Packed Lunch and the QVC shopping channel.

He also expressed his passion for a subject (plants) that he gained via his grandparents at the age of five.

In between the presentation to students, Mr Perry had a quick look around the college and signed a copy of his new book (called Hortus Curious: Discover the World’s Most Weird and Wonderful Plants and Fungi), that takes pride of place in the library.

Michael Perry With Former Colleague Louise Joy

Whilst signing the book, he met up with a former colleague from his Thompson & Morgan days (Louise Joy) who showed him a display that had been made by one of his biggest fans, Suffolk Rural student Noemie Bark-Ughetto.

Michael With Dave Smith (left) And Neville Stein (right)

On his return to Suffolk Rural, Mr Perry said: It’s always great to come back to the place where I used to study. I took real comfort in plants at school but it wasn’t ‘cool’. So when I came to the college – I was surrounded by like-minded people and it really built up my confidence.

“I always look back on my time here fondly and it was a pleasure to chat to the students. I hope to come back again soon.”

Horticulture lecturer, Neville Stein, said: “We are so grateful to Michael for giving up his time to come and chat to us.”

Michael With Current Students In The Greenhouses At Suffolk Rural

Marianne Barnard from the RHS level two course said: “It’s inspiring to hear just what you can achieve in this industry. The fact he was a former student made the visit extra special.”

Posted 29 November 2022
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